Anthony Townsend (USA)

Research Director

Anthony Townsend works on technological forecasting for the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. He is respected all over Asia (he lived in Korea while studying the development of broadband networks), in Europe, and in North America. He is a co-founder of NYCwireless, and played an important role in the promotion of wireless networks and the ways they can be used.

“There’s the Chinese internet, there’s the francophone internet, there’s the English internet, and they all have different assumptions and different structures. The question that that raises is : you know we have different ideals about what a good society, a good civilization looks like in different parts of the world and how can we articulate that to industry. You know, industry is sort of developing its own assumptions without the participation of people who think about political, social, cultural, and economic issues and one of the questions that raises for industry is how do they make technologies that are culturally flexible. Second question: What’s the role of culture? Computing communications are being, essentially, let out into the wild. They’re being taken out of a very controlled environment where design parameters could be studied, they could be met, and they could be evaluated, their performance could be evaluated. So, to kind of wrap up, and raise this third question of what success looks like, and connect it back to our session theme of power, I want to make the point that power goes to the person, or the group, that creates the vision. What is the vision we can substitute for selling technology and diffusing technology ? “